Crawling Up a Mountain


Yesterday, I endured one of the hardest hikes of my life so far. It was grueling and it really did not need to be that way, if only I had brought the right gear.

I was a bit naïve. I thought that there would be a bit of snow and ice at the top part of Mt Jackson, but instead, half of the hike was on icepack and loose snow. It was brutal and I fell dozens of times, especially on the way down. In this foolishly humorous endeavor, I brought along my brother Tyler and friend Noah. I had told them that we would need boots and warm clothes, but not micro-spikes and poles. Thankfully, nobody got hurt and we all had a good laugh. This experience was a wake-up call that I shouldn't be so cavalier with my hiking decisions and planning carefully can avoid myself some unnecessary bruises.

On our way back, we stopped at the Tilton House of Pizza and got a couple slices and brews. The cold beer and warm cheese made up for the sore wounds and small cuts. I am looking forward to a good summer season of adventures and excitement. I browsed a couple sites last night for good equipment and I'll put out a review on this blog later when I inevitably break all of it through excessively loving usage. 

With Tyler in town, we have been going out on the town. We took the T to get downtown and I noticed the transit maps have changed with the addition of the green line extension. It's cool to have been in the area long enough to witness the city changing with the times. I feel like a Bostoner, a transplant for sure, but a resident of the city for sure. We went to Bova's bakery last night and got some pastries. We sat in the park and heard the revelers yelling into the night. Life is good.

Today is EC day on campus. I noticed that the Fire Proof Warehouse on the edge of campus was gutted, it's surprising to see this landmark change so drastically and furthermore shows how the area evolves as the time passes me on by.

My next purchase will probably be a grill for my rental house near Central Square. Got any recommendations?

My garden has started with tomatoes and peppers. Beans and peas to come along next. Then herbs, berries, and flowers.

Here are some more photos from the hike. It was very impressive to see Mt Washington looming over us while we sat on the summit of Mt Jackson. These mountains are intimidating and breathtaking at the same time. It is a good reminder of the smallness of an individual in nature.

Be careful holding out a nut in your hand, a bird might try and steal it.

Whirlwind of Thought

I feel like I have jamming at life a bit lately. I'm not singing one song, but improvising somewhat as I tumble along. I have made one big decision that is not part of this jamming. I placed my enrollment deposit to start my PhD at Northeastern University this coming fall, I have accepted that offer, and I have to think a lot about how much work with PSI and other obligations I should be carrying. There are a lot of daily, weekly, monthly, and potentially years long engagements that I have decisions to make for. I don't mind this decisional jamming, in fact I am probably doing better off playing around with all these opportunities than picking something for the sake of having stability. I have been thinking about stability as well. Do I say 'yes' to too many people for the stability it brings? Saying 'no' can bring stability as well, stability in the emptiness of one's schedule. The opportunity cost of saying 'yes' is freedom. That freedom, which leaves one's mind to wander and fill the moments with reflection. Too much of that reflection can actually turn into a bad thing though. 

That's what I mean about jamming, I've got a lot of thoughts rolling about up there.

I have had a great year so far and I think it will only continue to be well. I am practicing songs to play at an informal event in Somerville in a month. I have been engaged with activities of the WMBR radio station. And I have been trying a few new meals, activities, and social engagements. Life is good. 

Finally back at the station.

In one of these social engagements, there was someone in allergic distress. I had the privilege of helping them to the emergency room on a Sunday night. In the waiting room, I happened to have time for a chat with another friend who was there for supporting the person under distress. It was a good chat. We went over the struggles of our interpersonal relationships and it's funny how those great conversations hit you at the oddest of places and times.

I ran along the Merrimack last week. I found this flower's fleeting bloom.

I want to run a half or full marathon in the fall. I did some stadiums at Harvard two weeks ago.

I went skiing for the first time a few days after my last blog post. I will go again. It was a blast.

Plans for the Coming Year


In my last blog post I wrote "I have the potential to start March in a suddenly different place in life.". This turned out to be true. I have accepted a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Northeastern University and I will be moving into a new apartment with some friends near Central Square in Cambridge, MA. In addition to this, I have kept up a gym habit, started swing dancing at a VFW nearby on Wednesday nights, and I have also been doing a bit of music on the side. While I have good plans laid out for the next year or two, I do wonder as much as the next person about what life has in plan for me. What is going to come my way that I cannot foresee? What things beyond my control will shake my stability or worldview? If I knew, I would certainly have a better staked financial portfolio and I would tell my friends about where to place their bets, but psychics and fortune tellers are not perfect and neither can I see entirely what is coming my way. 

Last week, I went to the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) with a friend I met at the Wednesday night swing dancing event. It was a good time at the MFA, I was reminded of many forms of art and aesthetic tastes I have. I should get and make more art.  

Last month, when I visited Northeastern University, they treated the prospective applicants very well. We got nice tours and fancy meals. I randomly met up with two students who were transferring from University of Washington. I did not realize until later that their doctoral advisor is the same guy that I will be working under at Northeastern, what a coincidence. 

Here is some photos of art at the MFA that I thought was neat.

Waiting for Life to Change


The next couple weeks are slated to be a wild time. I have been going to a couple graduate school visits, seeing friends in NYC, a couple concerts, and expecting to hear back on a few grad school applications. I have the potential to start March in a suddenly different place in life. This is intimidating and maybe I'm making a bigger deal of it than I should be. Either way, this year is shaping up to be one of significant change in my life.

Standard Roughness Gauges
Friends and I in the WTC mall at night

At the NYC public library private exhibits

abstract expressionism

my art fav

Wii bowling late at night

Another picasso

Washington Square park near west village

At liberty state park

The sun falling on Boston

Friends at a show

The guinea piggies in their home

Out in Savannah

Since my brother is an American hero, dealing with the enormity and organization of the US Army for the past few years, I decided to go down to Georgia and hang out this past weekend before he leaves for a cross-country road trip. He is leaving the service after 9 years and taking full control of his time. I wish him all the best and safety as he explores. I enjoyed this vacation-getaway from the bustle of Boston. I felt tired, but not because I wasn't resting, instead I believe I felt tired because I was getting some rest from my own busy life. I put away the work for a few nights and we simply hung out like old times, watching TV, driving around, and playing games. 

Downtown Savannah is a fun place to go out and enjoy a warm day or a chilly night. I was happily surprised to see so many people out and about between the historic district and River St areas. Tyler and I walked down Forsyth park and got some coffee, bumbling about until the late evening. 

On Saturday the 21st, we visited Tybee Island and loitered like tourists, had some seafood and a beer. This is how I like to have a little vacation. 

Graduate Applications and Florida Business Trip


It has been a busy few weeks. 
  • My colleagues at PSI and I have been moving fast on a project in order to bring hardware to a demonstration this past week in central Florida. 
  • Meanwhile, there are other programs at work that I have been giving attention towards
  • I have been gathering gifts for the holidays 
  • I have been working on finishing an album with Fred Desk
  • I got sick last weekend for the first time in a while and taking care of myself when I can
  • I applied to graduate school at some New England and midwestern schools.
The Florida trip was a great success from all that I can tell. I think we made a good impression and I look forward to continued work on the project we brought down there.

Gift buying has been fun. I know everyone talks about how the holidays are stressful, but it honestly has not been that bad for me this year. Most of the people I got gifts for were thankfully direct about what they wanted, or indicated something that they would like. 

The Fred Desk album is about 1.5 months away!! As long as the January sessions go well, it is well on its way to being finished.

More on graduate school applications to come in a few months, I heard back from a professor who is interested in talking to me about their work :)

A quintessential photo of Florida: concrete, power lines, and scrubby palm bushes

My hotel room had a jacuzzi tub for some reason?

Making myself good food as always from scratch

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard at New York's Forest Hills Stadium


The merch booth!

A friend and I travelled to New York city to watch a show that was years in the making. Over three years ago, we originally had a plan to see King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard in NYC but we were stopped by other obligations and then the pandemic happened. Finally, we got tickets to the Forest Hills Stadium show on October 21st. I was stoked and even more excited when Black MIDI announced they would be the opener a few weeks ago.

The venue is converted from an old tennis arena. As a result, the viewing areas are divided into stone seating stands and a boxy, flat standing area for general admission. We were situated in the middle of the floor on top of old tennis courts and we vibed along with the two openers, Leah Senior and Black MIDI. These two artists warmed up the crowd. Leah had people grooving back and forth and Black MIDI started the mosh pit crowd. The sets were relatively short and tight. Leah's group only played a few short songs without much banter. Black MIDI played fast and hard with limited time to jam. Soon after lights and smoke effects were tested, KGatLW jumped out on stage. They started off the show with a thrashing rendition of The Dripping Tap. The crowd was cheering and jeering as the mosh pit grew to encompass most of the front half of the floor area. I had been talking with some folks nearby me right before the KGatLW set started, they had grabbed drinks and were curious if the crowd would be rowdy. I looked their way and said "... there will be a mosh pit, people will get rowdy"; and I was right. I had a great time and stayed out of most of the mess. The songs were played with care and technicality. The majority of tracks chosen from KGatLW's discography were from their heavier and longer tracks. It was rather apparent that they focused on more recent and popular tracks that they had been working on. I expected as much and they did their older songs with just as much perfection. 10/10 concert experience, I am a frugal man, but I spent a pile of pennies on a couple band T-shirts. Who knows when I will see this combination of artists again?

The next morning, I ate at a greasy spoon diner in Manhattan and roamed the city for a few hours before taking Amtrak's Northeast Regional back to Boston.

The setlist found after the show, crumpled by the mosh

Statue of Liberty from Battery Park in Manhattan, NYC, NY

Stage prior to show

Herbert the rabbit and me on the floor

Crawling Up a Mountain

  Yesterday, I endured one of the hardest hikes of my life so far. It was grueling and it really did not need to be that way, if only I had ...